Ben Gordon is to leave the ailing retailer Mothercare next month, news that emerged less than a week after a shock trading update.
The board released a statement yesterday saying Mr Gordon, who was appointed to the role in 2002, would step down "by mutual consent" at the company's interim results on 17 November.
The search for a new head is already under way and the executive team will report to its chairman Alan Parker after Mr Gordon's departure until a replacement is found. Mr Parker said the outgoing head was responsible for "enormous change and improvement" at Mothercare.
Last week, the company's shares fell 42 per cent, wiping £80m off Mothercare's value, after its third profit warning in a year. Investor fears were heightened as sales in the UK fell almost 10 per cent in the 12 weeks to October over a year earlier. It prompted Mr Gordon to complain about the "tough" conditions since the riots, before adding the outlook was not likely to improve heading into the festive season.
He said: "In particular, the home and travel market has been affected by customers trading down on bigger ticket items."